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Proposing a Dumbass Amendment for Gun Laws

I learned to shoot a rifle roughly twenty-five years ago. I was an NRA member for a while, learning to target shoot and getting pretty good at it. At Boy Scout camp, I was actually involved in a marksmanship contest one summer. (I was disqualified because my technique was illegal. Sure, I put the bullet dead center through the bullseye, but because I steadied my rifle wrong, it didn’t count. Not that I’m still bitter or anything.)

That said, I would like to propose a slight rewording to the Second Amendment.

“[T]he right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed unless you demonstrate that you are a complete and utter dumbass when it comes to gun safety.

Take, for example, a state senator who pulls a loaded handgun with no safety and points it at a reporter’s chest.1

“Oh, it’s so cute,” Klein said, as she unzipped the loaded Ruger from its carrying case to show a reporter and photographer. She was sitting on a leather couch in a lounge, just outside the Senate chamber.

She showed off the laser sighting by pointing the red beam at the reporter’s chest. The gun has no safety, she said, but there was no need to worry.

“I just didn’t have my hand on the trigger,” she said.

Gun safety rule number one, straight from the NRA (hardly a bastion of liberal gun-haters), is “ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

I’m not afraid of guns. I’m afraid of people who think guns are toys. Who think they’re cute. Who don’t have the first f***ing clue how to treat a gun. Who think guns are status symbols to be worn like those flag lapel pins.

Lori Klein, you scare the hell out of me. Not because you carry a gun. But because, despite your “informal training,” you obviously haven’t learned to respect them. Per my new Dumbass Amendment, please turn in your little pink .380 until such time as you can demonstrate that you’re no longer a dumbass.

I recognize that comments on this one could get heated fast, so I’ll be moderating as needed. Discussion and debate are fine, but please keep it civil.

  1. Disclaimer: as usual, you should probably avoid reading the comments.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


( 100 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 14th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
I second that. When I read the newspaper account I winced. When a moron. When she can function like an adult and comprehend the firearm is weapon, not a prop, maybe she can have it back. Maybe...
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC)
It's not a prop, it's a fashion accessory. Hence the pink . . .
(no subject) - crazywritergirl - Jul. 14th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Jul. 14th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jhetley - Jul. 14th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
I'm also not anti-gun but anti-dumbass. Personally, I would like gun ownership and use to work the same way as automobiles. I think you should have to attend classes about use and safety and pass tests before you're licensed to own and operate a firearm. Too many people receive all of their firearm training from Hollywood.
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Wait, you mean I'm *not* supposed to hold my automatic sideways when I shoot? But it looks so badass on TV!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - rowyn - Jul. 14th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sylvanstargazer - Jul. 14th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC)
Most of the comments I've seen in folks' LJs about this, from both gun owners and non-gun-owners, have been along the lines that "Never point a gun at anything you don't intend to shoot" is the widely known rule. People who have never fired a gun know it; how could this woman have missed it?

It has probably been close to 40 years since I fired a gun, but Dad taught the rule to me more than 50 years ago. (Along with "There is no such thing as an 'unloaded' gun.")
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
I haven't shot a gun in years, but that rule is still drilled into my head so deep I catch myself holding Nerf guns down and away to make sure they're not aimed at anyone when I carry them.

I have no idea how she got this far without learning the basics, but it scares me a lot. (And of course, if she can be this clueless, I start to wonder how many other equally clueless people are out there playing with guns...)
Nerf guns - shogunhb - Jul. 14th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lady_fellshot - Jul. 14th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
She has been a widespread embarrassment and object of scorn in the community . . .
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Which community?
(no subject) - jhetley - Jul. 14th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Jul. 14th, 2011 01:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cathshaffer - Jul. 14th, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jhetley - Jul. 14th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:40 pm (UTC)
I don't think your proposed amendment would fly. I think that there would be too much lawyering over the definition of "dumbass" by people who might also qualify.
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
I would be willing to volunteer my time as Arbiter of Dumbassery, if you think that would help...
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
I noticed the other day that the packs of cigarettes behind a counter in my local store all had different slogans on them, in large letters (translated fromt he Dutch): "SMOKING IS DEADLY," "SMOKING CAUSES SERIOUS CONDITIONS FOR YOU AND OTHERS AROUND YOU, "SMOKING AGES YOUR SKIN," etc. (I like the way they appeal to health *and* vanity!) A few weeks ago someone near me had a pack he'd bought in Asia, with graphic pictures of throat cancer victims.

I think that's the right approach: dangerous objects should be made to look dangerous. Not pink. It's not so much about using it as a deterrent to potential shoot-ees as to remind shooters that they are doing something with Serious Consequences. If you point a gun at a person, you need to be prepared to live with yourself after killing that person.

I'm not anti-gun; I think there is a perfectly good reason to shoot a person, to save yourself or others from death or serious injury. Like you, though, I am anti-dumbass.
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
Hm ... now you've got me thinking. I've seen pics of some very beautiful guns. I think, for me, I'd say that guns should not be made to look like *toys*.
(no subject) - jhetley - Jul. 14th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 14th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
Wow! I just... WOW!
What a F-Idiot!

I like your addendum to the Amendment!

Edited at 2011-07-14 01:42 pm (UTC)
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Not that I disagree with the rest of your post, but now I'm wondering how you can have a gun steadying technique that is illegal for competitive shooting. Was it tripod mounted and you only had to press a remote trigger like on Mythbusters?

I've never held or shot a gun in my life. Weapons are not toys. They should always be treated with the respect and assumption that at any moment they could injure someone, and while in your possession it is your duty to make sure they do not do so, unless life and liberty are on the line.
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
If I remember right, I steadied the forward part of the rifle on the back of my wrist, with my fingers making a tripod (pentapod?) on the ground. For a more powerful weapon, where kick could be an issue, you definitely want to grip it to keep it from slipping, which is my guess as to why I got disqualified for that one, now that I think about it. But the .22 rifle had pretty much zero kick.
(no subject) - temporus - Jul. 14th, 2011 02:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Jul. 14th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
It's a real shame that stupidity doesn't come with an automatic non-procreation clause. In a perfect world, it would be its own form of natural selection.

P.S. Just finished Snow Queen's Shadow last night. WOW!!!

Edited at 2011-07-14 01:44 pm (UTC)
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
There are already certain people who are not allowed to legally own firearms. It seems reasonable that people who are so obviously untrained, and have no clue how to treat a gun, should be included in that group.

Re: your PS, yay!
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
Seriously, Ms. Klein? Seriously? x.x. I hope the NRA sends someone personally to tell you to stop acting like an idiot and making gun owners everywhere look insane. Thanks for giving gun control folks ammunition! I'm sure they appreciate your help.
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
I suspect, given that this was such an over-the-top example of idiocy, that she's taking a *lot* of heat for it.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 14th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
Female CCW havers unite!
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)
I completely and totally support what you write. I'm a hunting person (see this user pic!) and I was scrupulously taught to rely on muzzle discipline and NOT on safeties for gun handling safety. Granted, I was taught by WWII vets.

Then again, what else do you expect from a group of idiots who slaver over the picture of Sarah Palin carrying a shotgun in an unsafe manner?

I like the Dumbass Amendment, myself. Can we apply it to idiot urban hunters who shoot at anything that moves once they're out in the woods? Or can we just shoot back when shot at?
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
"I like the Dumbass Amendment, myself. Can we apply it to idiot urban hunters who shoot at anything that moves once they're out in the woods? Or can we just shoot back when shot at?"

Yes and yes.

I mean, if one of the arguments for gun ownership is self-defense, then doesn't someone pointing a gun at you (let alone shooting at you) qualify as a situation when you should be allowed to defend yourself?
(no subject) - joycemocha - Jul. 14th, 2011 02:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcat_jewel - Jul. 15th, 2011 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
It feels like this is an unfortunate congruence of "gun makers are trying to expand their market by 50% by marketing to non-traditional gun owners with little firearms experience" and "safer gun use requires informal social training that is mostly handed down through predominantly masculine interactions." That is, even the women I know who know how to shoot mostly learned from older male relatives, and if a woman didn't have access to someone like that it is unclear to me how, in the US, they would have these relatively non-intuitive cardinal rules of gun safety drilled into them. I know I never had the option to learn anything about firearms, despite desiring to.

On the other hand, I don't want gun ownership to be limited to only people who have participated in an informal and highly masculinized culture (I'm totally for gun control to the fullest extent allowed, but not on the basis of demographics or correlated metrics.) If the angry guy coming at me is allowed to have a gun, I should be allowed to have one too.

Unfortunately, all the research I've seen suggests that formal gun safety training doesn't actually do squat for kids (except make them more likely to handle guns when they find them), and it is corrolated with adults keeping their guns loaded and unlocked (possibly because it is taken by people who haven't had informal training.) So it's probably down to product design to prevent dumbassery.
Jul. 14th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
What do you mean by non-intuitive rules? Not pointing a loaded gun at someone you don't intend to shoot seems like common sense to me.

I don't have the numbers, but I suspect you're right about gun owners being a male-dominated group, and the need to provide better access to training for women who want to learn to use guns.

Do you have any references to the research you mentioned about gun training making kids more likely to handle guns or correlating with adults keeping/storing their guns loaded and unlocked?
(no subject) - sktait - Jul. 15th, 2011 12:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Jul. 15th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lady_fellshot - Jul. 14th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rimrunner - Jul. 14th, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
The founding fathers of your country must be rolling over in their graves. When the Second Amendment was written, people needed those guns to defend themselves on a pretty regular basis. They would be appalled at her cavalier treatment of her weapon. (Was it really pink? I'm having trouble with that one myself. WTF do you need a pink gun for?)

I completely agree with your addition to the amendment. I would like to take it a step further and have some regulations and penalties on gun manufacturers for making and selling a weapon without a safety. 'Cause that is dumbass too. Respect and proper handling can and should be drilled into anyone using a gun but every little thing that can be done to make it a little bit safer to handle and store should be done as well.
Jul. 14th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
Pink and black. The article I linked to includes a picture. Another article described it as being "similar to" this gun.
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Jul. 14th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
I am with you 100% here, Jim. We grew up with guns in the house. I learned to shoot when I was about ten or so. My father always impressed upon us the absolute need for total gun safety and that guns are NOT freakin' toys.

When I reached my mid-twenties I stopped hunting, going to deer camps, being around others who use guns because, quite frankly, I was appalled at how dangerous and sloppy they were when it came to basic gun safety.

Maybe it's the way I was raised and the culture in which I was raised. But I have never had a problem with ownership of guns by responsible people. Dumbasses who have guns...that's another matter. That's why as a gun owner myself I am disgusted by this reprehensible, ignorant clown who pointed a loaded gun at someone.
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( 100 comments — Leave a comment )


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